Iraqi on trial in Germany over murder, rape of 14-year-old

A police van assuringly carrying the defendant drives into a garage of the district court in Wiesbaden, Germany, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. A trial against an Iraqi asylum-seeker began who is accused of rape and killing a 14-year-old German-Jewish girl. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A rejected Iraqi asylum-seeker admitted killing a 14-year-old local girl as he went on trial in Germany Tuesday in a case that fueled tensions over migration. He denied raping her.

The 22-year-old Ali Bashar is accused of assaulting and murdering Susanna Feldman in the western city of Wiesbaden in May. Bashar and his family abruptly left a home for asylum applicants in Germany after the killing, and he was later extradited from Iraq.

The defendant admitted to the Wiesbaden state court as his trial opened that he killed the girl, news agency dpa reported.

“I don’t know how this could happen,” he said through an interpreter. He said that they had had consensual sex before the killing.

Bashar said he had met the girl through a mutual acquaintance about three months previously, that they had often spent time together and he hadn’t known how old she was.

There are no formal pleas in the German legal system. The trial is scheduled to last at least until early May.

Bashar is believed to have arrived in Germany in October 2015, at the height of the migrant influx to the country, and was appealing the rejection of his asylum application at the time of the killing.q